458.11 Dexter and Carpenter/124

The Chargé in Sweden (Crocker) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 471

Sir: In compliance with the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 15, of April 12, 4 P.M., I have the honor to report that I called this morning upon Baron Hamilton, the Secretary General of the Foreign Office, in the absence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and had an informal and frank conversation with him in the sense of the instruction.

I told him that the American Government felt strongly that another more or less stereotyped reply from the Ministry of Communications handed on to us as representing the views of the Foreign Office, as was the case with their last reply, would not be regarded as satisfying the obligations of the Swedish Government in the matter. I said that the Ministry of Communications would probably be influenced again by its desire to disclaim responsibility under the provisions of domestic jurisprudence and without giving due regard to the matter from the point of view of international law and that we felt that the Foreign Office ought to give the matter its full attention, regarding it as an international claim of one government against another. I pointed out that the Swedish Government had chosen the America[n] courts as the proper place in which to initiate action for breach of contract against an American concern; that the contract had been made in the United States; that the contract was to have been performed in the United States; that the matter had been fully litigated within the jurisdiction of their own choosing; and that the American Government could not under the circumstances advise Dexter and Carpenter to start action all over again in Swedish courts. I said [Page 601] that when the case had gone against them in a counterclaim the Swedish Railways then claimed immunity, which was granted them, and that now the American Government regarded the matter as an international claim of one government against another. Under these circumstances the American Government felt very strongly that the matter should be given the basic and fundamental consideration by the Foreign Office itself and that I hoped he could give me assurances that the Foreign Office would give it such consideration.

Baron Hamilton said in reply that as the correspondence on the case was so voluminous and the details so numerous he regretted that he was not familiar with the case excepting in a general way. He said that he had, of course, seen our note of March 10 last (based upon the Department’s instruction No. 96, of February 23, 1932) and that the matter was again being considered by the Ministry of Communications. He said that when a reply was received the Foreign Office would certainly give the consideration to the case which I had asked.

I enquired whether the Foreign Office might not wish to begin its consideration of the case independently of and prior to the receipt of the reply from the Ministry of Communications, basing its consideration upon the point of view of international law rather than that of domestic jurisprudence.

He replied that there did not appear to be such great urgency in the matter as the American Government had allowed some eight months to elapse since the last reply of the Swedish Government but that he would naturally be glad to assure me that there would be no delay beyond that necessary to a thorough consideration of the case.

I said that the American Government understood perfectly the necessity for giving a certain amount of time to the matter, but that if the Ministry of Communications intended to reply in the sense of its former reply it would be a waste of time in arriving at a final solution of the case.

Baron Hamilton said that he had noted carefully the point of view which I had expressed and that I might communicate to my Government that the Foreign Office would give the consideration to the case which I had asked.

Respectfully yours,

Edward Savage Crocker